By Stacy Nykorchuk, CCEP
Sometimes, a vintage book catches my eye, and it’s a nice break from the modern writing I spend most of my time-consuming. One of the imprinted pages in this book sent me on a mental tangent before I’d even gotten to the first story. A note about the appearance of books in wartime… from a time when everyone knew that there was an actual war at hand. The message, one of conservation and even business consideration to the greater good, is one that might be reflective of a different period in time. In short, I’m not sure we’d see this in the 21st century.
Can you imagine this message today? First, we’d have to all agree what wars or conflicts merit a cooperation effort. Next, we’d have to decide what to conserve, and get businesses to buy in without playing their own war games through litigious delay. This is where I see the real struggle. Do we need to curtail trees from print material or terabytes from our digital content? Maybe the effort would revolve around what is published, as wars are fought with information (and we’re in a generation with more access to, and theft of, information than ever)… is there a need to save manpower these days?
With so many experts and advocates of publishing and digital publishing, with respectable, diverse opinions, I’m not confident we could reach a swift consensus to action. Is a sense of duty enough, or would we need legislation, a new War Production Board, to compel compliance? If the latter route is pursued, it better be well written, because we all know there are fine lines worth testing between the letter of a law and the spirit of a law. By the time that’s determined to any satisfaction, the military action in question may even be over, rendering the whole effort irrelevant (better luck next time).
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